There’s rocky development timelines, and then there’s… whatever the heck you would classify Payday: Crime War’s development hell as. This built-for-mobile entry in the popular Payday heist game series was originally announced during E3 way back in June of 2015. It would be an entire year before we heard any further news on Crime War, when it was announced during 2016’s E3 that the game wouldn’t be a cooperative-focused heisting game like its PC and console siblings, but rather a 4v4 first-person shooter where teams of heisters would take on teams of police, with various Payday-like “heist" gameplay elements peppered throughout. It actually sounded really cool, but it would be nearly another whole year before we got our actual first look at Payday: Crime War in action with a gameplay trailer and word that the game would be “out soon."
Now fast-forward a year and four months to September of 2018, and Payday: Crime War was entering closed beta. It was finally getting close, for reals this time! Or so it seemed. The last we heard from the game was a little over a year later in November of 2019 when the developers officially announced that the soft-launched version of Payday: Crime War would be shut down, with the hopes that it might come back to life someday with a new publisher.
Well, somehow and someway that seems to be actually happening as this week Payday’s parent company Starbreeze announced that they’ve entered into an agreement for long-time free to play mobile game developer PopReach to take over development of Payday: Crime War with the aim of re-launching it sometime in 2022.
It was assumed that the original development of Payday: Crime War was taking such a long time because it bounced between different studios during its production, at one point being developed by Cmune, creators of the old Counter Strike-alike on mobile UberStrike, before being taken over by Dead Effect developer Badfly Interactive in 2017. And who knows who else’s hands have been on this thing. In 2019 it was NBCUniversal shutting down its mobile publishing wing that put the final nail in the coffin of Payday: Crime War. However, part of this new deal is that PopReach will be given the entire existing code base for the game and should be able to pick up right where the game was left off, and they’re hoping to soft launch a beta version of the new release by the end of 2021 with a full global launch planned for the first half of 2022.
So yeah, seven whole years after first being announced and we’ll all finally get to play Payday: Crime War. Allegedly. I’m cautiously optimistic!